Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching followed her elder sister out of the door marked “exit” at the Foro Italico in Rome on Monday after she lost her Internazionali BNL d’Italia first-round women’s doubles match.
After Chan Yung-jan was the victim of a thrilling comeback in her match earlier on Monday, Chan Hao-ching and Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain were outclassed 6-2, 6-3 by Vera Dushevina of Russia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain.
The Russian-Spanish duo converted five of the six break-point chances they created, while the Taiwanese-Spanish pairing converted just one of two in 1 hour, 10 minutes.
Taiwanese hopes in Rome now rest with second seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Flavia Pennetta, who received a bye in the first round and are due to face either Australian sisters Anastasia and Arina Rodionova or Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic in the second round.
Hsieh fell a place in the world doubles rankings on Monday, from ninth to 10th, while Pennetta climbed from 16th to 11th.
Pennetta’s former doubles partner, Martina Hingis, achieved the highest ranking of her comeback to the doubles in 2013 as she moved up to world No. 2.
Hingis and world No. 1 Sania Mirza have had a dream start to their partnership, winning their first three tournaments at Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston, with a 15-2 record since pairing up in March.
“Going forward I would love to win some Slams and it would also be great for both of us to be No. 1 together,” India’s Mirza told the WTA Web site. “That’s very important to me. For Martina, I don’t know — she’s been No. 1 in the world before, but since we’re playing like the No. 1 team, I feel like we both deserve to be No. 1.”
“It’s like everything is a bonus,” Hingis told the WTA Web site. “I’m just really enjoying the moment. The longer you play in your career, the more you can also enjoy it and lean back, especially in doubles. As for No. 1, it will come with the results. Right now I think the pressure is off, to be honest. I know Sania and I can play well at any time, any surface, anywhere. We’re a very solid team and we’re the ones to be chased after right now.”
In the singles, Gilles Simon of France took advantage of a few key double-faults by Jack Sock and rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 victory.
Sock was up a break in the second set until his usual commanding serve deserted him. The 12th-seeded Simon quickly leveled the set and then jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker with the help of two double faults by Sock.
Simon, who has won 12 ATP Tour titles in his career, broke late in the third and closed it out at love in the final game.
“I had a tough time finding my game,” Simon said. “If I play like that again I’ll be out.”
Sock, a 22-year-old American ranked a career-high No. 33, appeared to lose energy as the match wore on and could not deal with Simon’s consistency — committing twice as many unforced errors as the Frenchman (48-24).
“He serves like [Andy] Roddick and his forehand is like [Rafael] Nadal’s,” Simon said. “If he works on his other shots he could improve a lot.”
With the temperature at the Foro Italico soaring above 25?C, fitness was key on the red clay courts.
Tenth seed Grigor Dimitrov also played cleanly in a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) win over Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.
Dimitrov had only 11 unforced errors to Janowicz’s 31. A semi-finalist last year, Dimitrov improved to 9-3 on clay this year.
John Isner, another big-serving American who is seeded 16th in Rome, eliminated Joao Sousa of Portugal 7-5, 6-3, while Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany beat Donald Young of the US 6-4, 6-1.
Fabio Fognini, Italy’s highest-ranked male at No. 31, won a night match over Steve Johnson of the US 7-6 (7/0), 6-3.
Fognini produced a shot through his legs early on, although he lost the point. He also bounced his racket on the ground in frustration at the start of the second set, but for the most part was able to tame his nerves — and Johnson.
“I’ve always had a hard time here so I’m pleased,” said Fognini, who has never been past the second round in Rome.
Fognini next faces Dimitrov.
Also on Campo Centrale, 13th seed Sara Errani, last year’s runner-up, used her consistency to wear down Slovakian veteran Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).
Errani produced 16 winners and 16 unforced errors, while Hantuchova made 43 winners and 41 unforced errors.
Venus Williams, the 1999 Rome champion, beat Czech qualifier and teenager Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 6-2, while 15th seed Madison Keys defeated Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4.
Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky upset 11th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-0 and improved to 26-5 this year, while Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia beat Sam Stosur of Australia 6-4, 7-5.
Former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki beat Sloane Stephens of the US 6-4, 6-1, while American qualifier Christina McHale overcame Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.
In a matchup of two Italian wild cards, Karin Knapp beat 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-1.
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